Google Snippets or also known as the featured snippets are short pieces of content, comprised of textual content and at times, images too.
These snippets appear at the top of the SERPs of Google searches.
They are primarily meant to solve certain queries quickly and promptly.
Digital marketing experts have been giving their best shots in order to dominate this position, that is also known as the position #0. And the difficulty of achieving the same is full of hurdles and businesses have been try every way out possible to make things go their way.
And their main agenda behind the same is to drive maximum amount of traffic towards their website.
So, if you get a better understanding of the value of these featured snippets as well as how effective they happen to be in terms of increasing your web traffic can really help you achieve your business goals a lot quicker.
And, as you can already expect, businesses which become successful in dominating the zeroth position in the search engine results pages of Google have much advantage over their competitors.
This is because, searchers usually tend to click more often on the snippets.
So, if you are wondering about, how you can dominate Google snippets in the SERPs of relevant searches, then you should definitely get to know about the benefits that these snippets pack for your brand’s online awareness.
What are Featured Snippets?
When a web user submits a query in Google Search, it might show a search result extracted from your site in a special block known as a “featured snippet” at the top of the search results page.
Featured snippets nearly always appear at the top of all search results, in what is known as “position zero” because it is above the #1 organic listing. They are often set within a grey squared border with a white background and rounded corners.
Where do snippets appear in Google’s search results?
Featured snippets commonly contain one listing, but more than one may appear. You might find featured snippets on their own within overall search results, within the “People also ask” section, or along with Knowledge Graph information.
What’s shown in a Google SERP at any given time can also change according to whether you’re searching on a desktop computer or a mobile device, or what country you are searching from, or many other contextual factors. In every instance, Google is changing the SERP because it is trying to show search results in the most useful format for the searcher.
Where does Google get the information displayed in featured snippets?
Google’s generation of Titles and Descriptions for snippets and other search results is completely automated and takes into account both the content of a page as well as references to it that appear on the web. The goal of the snippet and title is to best represent and describe each result and explain how it relates to the user’s query.
When did Google introduce featured snippets in Search?
Featured snippets have been slowly rolled out over the past few years, following the trend of Google SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) changing and evolving their look over time. Many of us have become used to seeing elements such as the Knowledge Panel or “People also ask” box displayed in our search results, offered by Google to provide more context for each search and more possible resources to answer our queries.
How Can Featured Snippets Help Brands?
For many companies, it may not immediately seem apparent why they should target featured snippets with their SEO strategy. They may feel winning snippets is a matter of chance or luck, and simply achieving the top organic listing is a more tangible goal they can wrap their heads around. That could be a big mistake.
Here are some examples of how Google’s featured snippets support the typical marketing goals of most brands and businesses:
- Snippets Increase Traffic to Your Website – The most obvious benefit of getting a featured snippet is more traffic to the website. When your content is featured in a visual element that stands out from a crowded list of blue links, you are more likely to attract attention and earn click-throughs to your pages.
- Snippets Can Lead to Increased Conversions – For businesses, the most fruitful benefit of getting a featured snippet is the increase in organic conversions, or customers that took action after seeing the snippet. This can go beyond conversions earned from click-throughs–for example, seeing the snippet alone could convince someone your business is a viable and trusted solution provider, prompting them to call you rather than click and visit your website.
- Snippets Increase Brand Awareness and Visibility – Appearing in the organic search results increases the overall awareness of your brand across a vast audience of searchers in Google’s network. Appearing as the answer to industry questions also lends credibility to your brand’s expertise and trustworthiness.
- Snippets Position Your Brand as a Topical Authority – When you attract more users searching for the topics related to your business, increasing the average time spent on the website, and building links that boost your rankings enough to win featured snippets, the overall authority of the website is improved.
- Helps you capitalize on Voice Technology – Studies indicate that virtual assistants like Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant, and Microsoft’s Cortana typically use featured snippets pulled from search results to answer their users’ voice search queries. Nearly 40% of internet users perform vocal searches on computers and mobile devices in 2021.
What Concerns Should You Have About Snippets?
To be fair, it’s not inherently good to win a featured snippet for every keyword. The reasons are nuanced and require critical thinking of search intent for each keyword–and the role Google plays (or wants to play) in answering those queries, and how snippets fit into that.
Google Didn’t Do This Just for Your Site
We assume Google updates its SERPs to improve the search experience–and to be fair, most of the time their changes do improve them–but we can also assume Google also has a business incentive to update its search result pages in order to improve and grow the presence of its search advertising products.
One of the likely reasons Google invented snippets is to increase the time spent on Google search pages. The longer someone is on the Google SERP instead of clicking through to the owner’s website, the more likely someone is to see or click on an ad.
This means for certain search queries, Google ends up “using” the content you created for Google’s own benefit. However, the end-goal is what Google has always said they want to provide: an answer to your question while saving your time. It’s definitely something to think about.
Snippets Can Reduce Click-Throughs
In some cases, winning the featured snippet can result in less traffic coming to your site than winning the top listing might. Studies show the typical CTR of a featured snippet is less than that of the #1 organic search result.
Probably one of the intentions of snippets being invented by Google is to increase the time spent on Google search. The longer someone is on the Google SERP instead of clicking through to the owner’s website, the more likely someone is to click on an ad. Just like any website owner likes to increase time on site, google is no different.
Snippet or Listing, You Can’t Have Both
Google also recently updated its algorithm to ensure sites only show up once in search result pages (known as the “deduplication update”). Previously, it was feasible that you could both win a featured snippet and also show up in the results listed below the snippet. Now that this is not the case, it actually makes the featured snippet less valuable in many cases.
The Data Is Changing as Snippets Grow
However, that data is based on historical versions of the Google SERP. As it has evolved over time, the metrics on featured snippet engagement are changing.
For some brands, the benefits of winning featured snippets outweigh the risks, because there is still a great deal of brand awareness generated as people search and come to associate your brand with the answers to their queries.
How Featured Snippets Increase Brand Awareness?
Typically, there are several types of featured snippets. These can be anything starting from the “People Also Ask” section that contains questions, related to the main query.
The content that appears inside of a Featured Snippet is automatically pulled from web pages that are in Google’s index, and Google’s automated systems determine whether a page would make a good, featured snippet to highlight for a specific search request.
The most common formats of featured snippets in Google are definitions, lists, steps, and tables. These snippets are helpful because they provide precise and comprehensive answers to a user’s question, typically in the form of a summarized response taken from the contents of a web page, including a link, the page title, and its URL address. Let’s review how these search snippets help grow brand awareness in multiple important ways.
- They Appear Above Organic Search Results
Being at the top of a Google SERP will often bring more organic traffic to your website. Organic traffic is typically more likely to lead to a meaningful conversion than paid traffic.
While the snippet tells you the absolute basics that answer your search query at a glance, searchers will often click to learn more on the subject matter. This means winning snippets eventually leads more traffic to your website, since the snippet’s contents often convince them that the full page will contain even more relevant and robust information related to their query.
- They are Larger, More Prominent Search Results
As the user scans and skims through the search result page, the featured snippet stands out from the rest of the search results, as it appears in a highlighted box. By taking up more real estate on Google SERPs, the snippet draws the attention of the web user and makes it more likely they will click on your listing.
According to Search Engine Land, a Featured Snippet gets approximately 8% of all clicks. External Link. Opens in new window. for each search. So, if you’re able to get your content in the Featured Snippet, you can give your website’s organic click-through-rate a serious boost.
- They Give Your Brand Topical Authority
One of the most effective marketing strategies for any organization is to gain credibility as an authoritative source of information for particular topics. The credibility of your content–and by consequence, the credibility of your brand–is validated when search users see your brand in the featured snippets. Being featured by Google adds immense brand value to your website and positions you as a thought leader with relevant and authentic information.
- They Improve Voice Search and Accessibility
Whether it’s Alexa, Siri, Cortana, Google, or another AI-driven smart technology, there is no questioning the importance or growing popularity of voice search. According to Google, nearly a third of the global population is using voice search.
What does this have to do with featured snippets? Featured snippets are one of the most prominent search results used as answers to voice search queries on any device. That means winning a featured snippet will help you become the answer given for popular and relevant voice search queries, and to that end, it makes your content more accessible too.
This is even more of a win than being at the top of a list of results, for one big reason: If a searcher is using voice search and expecting a verbal reply, they will not be presented with a list of results like conventional SERPs on the web; instead, the top result will be the only answer spoken back to them, thereby increasing your brand awareness even more with voice search audiences.
Pursuing Additional Search Snippets
While featured snippets are the most common and recognizable search snippets, Google features various other types of “rich results” that also provide heightened awareness for your brand.
- People Also Ask
One of the primary strategies to appear on featured snippets is to create content specifically to answer questions, because this positions the content to win the “People Also Ask” snippet, Google’s version of FAQs that can be seen in most Google Search results.
Winning real estate in the People Also Ask section will help establish thought leadership by proving your brand knows what questions Google Searchers will have and providing a thoughtful and accurate answers to those questions.
This will also help you gain favor with Google searchers when your content can answer the queries accurately and briefly. If your content is there to answer the question they have, they are more likely to deem your website as trustworthy and become a high-quality lead by submitting a contact form or subscribing to your email list.
- Video Snippets
Increasingly, brands are publishing video content that supports their marketing strategies online, whether they are published through the website, social media, or other digital channels such as YouTube. Google will often elevate videos in search results as Video Snippets, because the search algorithm has determined that search users want to view content in that media format to answer their query.
For example, someone searching for “how to replace a car battery” will more likely gravitate towards a video tutorial than a page featuring written instructions because the video is more helpful to them.
- Local Search Snippets
Local SEO is a distinct marketing strategy leveraged by businesses that rely on local customers and foot traffic to generate revenue and grow brand awareness. Google knows this, and therefore places different kinds of Featured Snippets for searches that indicate a need for local goods or services.
For example, someone searching for “pizza restaurants near me” will likely be presented a Google Map known as a “Local Pack” with nearby pizza restaurants listed prominently in a map section, because the map interface is more helpful to someone who may need to physically navigate to the pizza restaurant to pick up an order, or someone who wants to order pizza delivery from close by, so it arrives at their location faster.
What Google Snippets Should You Target?
Featured snippets get the trust of searchers that it is the correct information about the query, because google shows it on 0th position. The general types of snippets that are most popular are as follows.
“Answer Box” or Paragraph Snippets
The first and most common kind of featured snippet is the paragraph featured snippet. This snippet contains a short excerpt of text that is typically anywhere from 40 to 50 words in length. Usually, there is a thumbnail image that accompanies it. These kinds of snippets come up in results pages when a user searches a question with a descriptive answer.
People Also Ask
These usually show up in searches that ask a question, such as who, what, where, when, why, or how. It contains a summary of the content on the featured web page related to your search query, along with the page title, link, and featured image.
Localized searches seeking answers such as a nearby store or the closest service center to a user’s location can result in a “Local Pack” featured snippet that shows results in proximity to the search user with details such as their business name, description, contact info, and distance.
While Top Stories mostly feature content published to news sites, updates regarding popular and recent breaking news stories that are posted on trade publication websites or industry blogs can also become a part of featured snippets quite often.
A featured snippet containing a video player appears when searchers look for something related to a song or movie. It can also appear when the answer to a question is contained in a video chosen as a featured snippet. The video is pulled with the paragraph snippet format, the video thumbnail, and the YouTube link. The paragraph is commonly pulled from the YouTube video description. You can put the text that you want Google to consider for your snippet at the beginning of your video’s description for best results.